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Inactive Forums => Scattershot => Topic started by: Le Joueur on March 20, 2002, 08:59:16 PM

Title: The Gaming Model: Basic (First Stage)
Post by: Le Joueur on March 20, 2002, 08:59:16 PM
Before I put this up, I'd just like to give credit where it is due.  It starts 'back in the day' on r.g.f.x and their little three-sided thingie.  Many of the things I tested out back at FRPGA, UMGS, and RPSG (formerly Tactical Simulations in Reality) at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis campus.  Some of the fringie discussions over at ( counted as did Raven (It was you wasn't it?), who recruited me for the Forge.

Most of all, I must credit Ron Edwards for his incomparable trouble magnet, his 'position piece,' the mostly misapprehended, much maligned, controversial, diagnostic tool, the GNS theory.  (Which should forevermore be obvious that I am a dissenter from.)  Without this and the arguments it spawned, I could never have crystallized what follows.

To all these, and more than I can mention, thank you.  I'd also like to thank the academy....

Fang Langford

Title: Re: The Gaming Model: Basic (First Stage)
Post by: Le Joueur on March 20, 2002, 09:03:37 PM
First Stage (Basic Gaming) [For Forge members; remember virtually everything in Scattershot breaks down into three stages people can opt to use.  The first, Basic, is the 'what is it' stage, enough to get you started.  The second, Intermediate (or Tournament), is the 'how do you do it' kind of stage, the real backbone.  And the third, Advanced, is the 'what are some of the best ways' stage, with all the frills.  The next two articles in this series will build upon what is given here.]

What Would You Do?

Ever walk out of a film or turn away from the television or put down a book and begin a conversation with, "Well, if I were so-and-so I'd have done such-and-such?"  I suppose you could write script, screenplay, or book and try to get at that 'itch,' but me?  I'd play a role-playing game.

There are many ways role-playing games (gaming) can 'scratch that itch.'  Let's say you somehow find yourself in the place of whichever character it was; how do you know if what you'd do would work?  You don't, and that's the fun of gaming.

What gaming is simply, is finding out what would happen and how; 'getting there' is all the fun.  Let's back up a moment and take it one step at a time.


The most central concept of gaming is the imaginary place (the game world) where all the action takes place.  This is like the setting of the movie, show, or book.  It doesn't really exist; everyone taking part in the game (playing) makes it up.  It's vital to remember that the game world is shared; everyone playing has some input and it doesn't 'belong' to any one person.

This input primarily takes the form of supplying descriptions of the actions of characters that exist in the game world.  You have your own personal character (your persona) in the story.  This is very like the character from that movie, show, or book, whose actions you wanted to affect.  They are your place in the story (the narrative); they act as you direct, doing what you want them to.  Your persona is your window to the game world and your representative; it is always yours to control.

What makes gaming different from making up stories with a group of people has to do with not knowing how things will turn out.  In those stories I mentioned earlier, sooner or later, you know how it'll end.  Gaming is just about the opposite.  You wouldn't really enjoy doing it, if you changed how that one character acted and the story still came out the same way, no matter what.  In gaming, you never know how the narrative will turn out.

Getting 'Involved'

This uncertainty becomes more fun when you participate.  Superficially, it's about how your 'share' of the game world is affected by everything else in it, most specifically it's how your persona is affected, at the least.  But participation is more than that; it means imagining a place, a time, or a situation, but also working with it on its own terms.

In gaming, there's more to a bar fight than the floor plan and furniture layout, more than the people and items and atmosphere.  You don't just imagine the bar having a number of liquors behind it, you consider it in terms of your persona who is in that bar, in that fight.  You decide your persona leaps behind that bar and grabs a bottle for a weapon.  No one said there were bottles back there; you just made that up (the bottle is hardly surprising though).

When you do this, you Think in Context  (TiC) with the game world.  Turning a bottle into a weapon is something that mostly occurs when you TiC of your persona's Point of View (PoV).  While TiCing like this, you might also worry about your persona's chances, about them getting hurt or missing something much like if you were them; that's all normal and very much TiC.  It's the primary act of gaming; it's what makes gaming 'tick.'  (And don't worry; only people who are already psychotic ever have problems with this.)

Now this doesn't mean that that TiC is all there is to gaming.  Many players will spend a great deal of time thinking of other things; what makes it gaming is being able to TiC any time you want.

The Many Rewards

People play role-playing games for lots of different reasons, but it all boils down to what they get out of their participation.  It's hard to describe it all, but I think I can chop it up a few of times to make it easier to think about.  Note: no one plays in only one of the following ways, but most have distinct tendencies.  Feel free to steal any ideas from orientations other than what you're familiar with, that's half the fun.

So far I've mostly talked about things in subjective PoV, 'doing what I'd do if I were in my persona's place,' and that's a perfectly valid way to play.  Another way to look at it is what the whole game gives you in objective terms.  This is much like when you put down that book or walk out of the theatre thinking, "Wow, what a great story!"  You aren't thinking about what any specific character or thing did for it, but how it came off as a whole package, as an object.  Many people play in such ways that work to improve their games from this objective PoV, you can too.

Whether you look at your game for its subjects or as an object, you can also look at those in terms of content or sum.  If you ever find yourself wondering what a character must have been thinking, you're looking at a subject's contents.  If you want to discuss why a game was better than another you're looking at the object's sum.

Content is a focus on the 'guts of a thing,' what makes it work, how they relate, or what makes them cool.  The content of a game is how any the parts that make it neat, separately.   The genre, mechanics, props, background, or relationships, if any of these is what you get off on, then content is your focus.  Considering the sum is when you see how good something is, as it is.  Working for a better narrative in the over-all sense is very much concerned with its sum.  Working out what 'works best' as a persona is working with its sum.

What to Call Them?

Let's give these divisions some names so we can keep them apart.  Certainly subjective, sum gaming is accurate, but it sure don't sound too simple.  So let's call liking it, 'playing the Joueur.'  Joueur is the French word for Gambler, but it also means game player and with all these dice it seems pretty appropriate.  What if you're into subjective gaming, but prefer a more content-based approach?  How about we call that 'playing the Avatar,' like the Hindu incarnation of deity, except you're the deity.  For those more interested in the content-based side of objective gaming, may I suggest 'playing the Swashbuckler?'  A swashbuckler goes where the world takes them and they have fun with it.  Finally, if you like making the most out of the sum total of a narrative objectively, you're 'playing the Auteur.'  It may sound a little pretentious (and it can be!), but auteur-style directing is about giving the whole movie 'a personal touch' or a signature characteristic.

Why all the 'playing' around?  Because nobody, but nobody, ever plays just one way.  Oh you might have a streak or two, but sooner or later you're going to have it another way.  Saying it this way, one minute you're playing the Swashbuckler and suddenly you get a wild hare about how well you're doing, like playing a Joueur.  Heck, sometimes you can be switching back and forth between them so much nobody can tell what you're playing.  That's some of the best fun.  The point is to be able to tell others 'where you're at' at any given moment with these terms.

There's More?

On top of those two divisions, there's also the part story plays in your favorite games.  Any narrative turns into a story looking back at it, but some people are concerned with how a story will go from the onset.  Certain genres of story, and the games that emulate them, have very familiar patterns of crisis, climax, and resolution.  One of the most memorable tropes of 'old-school' comic books is that no one ever really dies; they always manage to show up just in time to totally complicate the final confrontation with the supervillain.

The steady build up to this kind of ultimate conflict is one of the hardest things to do accidentally.  In order to achieve this sort of thing consistently, the collection of people gaming with you (the group) has to give the narrative something of a Self-Conscious quality.  No matter how much each player sticks to just their own persona (subjectively, as in playing the Avatar or the Joueur), they must at least subconsciously accept that ultimately those things might need to give way to making the narrative a 'better story.'  While it is possible for the gamemaster to keep the narrative moving along a secret predetermined 'script,' it works much better if the Self-Conscious group agrees on what form the story will follow and then be willing to allow anyone to point out when an individual is 'straying' from that form.  (Even then, the ending does not need to be known, just knowing 'how bad' things need to get before the 'ending' is often enough.)

Whether you're into playing the Joueur in a self-conscious narrative, or if you thrive on playing the Swashbuckler digging around in a background (telling a good story or not), you play for what you like.  Once you get a handle on what you lean towards there are a few basic tricks to making 'more' of it.  The first is 'character identification.'  Everyone playing has a persona (some, like the gamemaster can have more than one).  It's best to try and have more of what you like.  The more you try and get what you want, the more likely you will 'identify' with them.  Character identification is when you have sympathy for the persona's situation, or when you really want to know how things turn out for them.  Think about your favorite character from a movie, what made you want to stay until you saw how things ended?  What about them made them so cool you couldn't stop watching them?  This is what you need to get the 'on the ground floor' to have good character identification.

People playing the Joueur, the Swashbuckler, or the Avatar will like what the game gives them; playing the Auteur allows one to really explore 'what gives' about their persona.  While playing the Swashbuckler and the Joueur is about how these personae relate to the game, the Avatar will enjoy the opportunities gaming presents.

There are also ways to expand on the fun of character identification.  Hooking a persona into something bigger doesn't hurt things at all; in fact, it can make you care even more (which is more fun).  Like the conquests of playing the Joueur, the adventures of playing the Swashbuckler, what matters to the persona in playing the Avatar, all these are about connecting the persona to the larger realm of the game.  Even the pointedly exterior viewpoint of the Auteur makes the whole game more valuable through the persona, by being a part of what drives the game.  What one might like in a game becomes more intriguing when it affects their persona, or when it affects their character identification.

And then there's still the whole issue of the Self-Consciousness of the narrative.  The journey of playing the Swashbuckler, the life-experience of playing the Avatar, the compounded achievements of the Joueur, and even the climax of playing the Auteur, are all examples of things heightened by the added impact of exploring a theme.  What made that last book more interesting?  Was it the way the hero overcame the monster, or the way that the monster represented how technology is overwhelming human society when they did it?  If it's to your taste, the exploration of thematic issues as often happens in self-conscious narratives can give that added punch to every aspect of your games.

Hey, That's My Champagne Magnum 'Club!'

Most of this gets really complicated when it comes to who's doing what to what.  There are lots a ways of looking at 'control issues,' division of labor, responsibilities, and whatnot, but it pretty much all boils down to good old-fashioned sharing.  What makes gaming really fun is when everyone works and plays well with others.  (And trust me, sometimes a gaming group can be more like a kindergarten class than a group of mature adults.)  To simplify matters, let's talk a little about boundaries.  Sharing is about being sensitive to when you're crossing someone else's boundaries.  Affecting 'their stuff' (or stuff that's 'not yours') is always at the permission of whom it belongs to (even if it's the gamemaster's); they may not specifically say so (and almost every use of mechanics is universally accepted), but unless they oppose it, it happens.

We've divided boundaries into three 'degrees' of sharing.  The boundary that surrounds the persona tightly, we call Self-Sovereign sharing; this boundary is effectively goes out 'to the ends of the persona's fingertips.'  You have your persona, I have mine; I can't make yours take off its hat, but mine could steal it.  You are also supposed to be limited to only the information from your persona's PoV (yeah, like that ever works).  Point of fact, usually you know a little more and you do a little more; that's because no degree of sharing is perfect.  Self-Sovereign sharing is about working through everything first-hand like the persona might.  In a common example of how this gets 'hijacked,' the persona's own player might decide when 'it's time' for their character to 'make their entrance;' it mostly has to do with what kind of play the players like best, even if it doesn't fit Self-Sovereign sharing all the time.  (This is a lot like how that bottle became a weapon in the bar fight example earlier.)

The second degree of sharing is what we call Referential.  Here, if anything refers to your persona, like their possessions, their holdings, or their servants, friends, and whatever, you run it.  (Even in this kind of sharing, the gamemaster tends to have the lion's share of stuff; that's just because they run all the other characters that aren't anyone's personae and 'gets their stuff.')  If you do something to or with another player's stuff, they'd better at least 'let you.'  Anything you want to do with their stuff, that they don't like, doesn't happen.  (This can be exceptionally fun in Self-Conscious play, because you can just dump new characters in to make your persona's life miserable; you don't need to check with anyone.)

When you take it to 'the third degree,' you're talking pretty much about everyone being on equal terms with the gamemaster.  Whole slices of the game world can spring fully formed from any player.  Our name for this is Gamemasterful sharing, because it's like sharing the game with a whole room full of gamemasters  (or maybe because it's a masterful - of stuff - way of gaming).  You aren't just making up the bottles behind the bar here, you're introducing patrons, décor, weather effects, even entire streets of businesses all on your own.  The sky is the limit (but you'd better keep at least loose track of who created what or I can already hear the arguments starting).  You can take even turns running the various other characters, creating events and circumstances and anything you like, just make sure it matches the kind of game everyone agreed to play at the beginning both in form and orientation.  Players are also a lot more likely to let you play around with their stuff if you make it worthwhile, there's so much sharing at this degree.

Every degree of sharing pretty much incorporates all those before it.  As a matter of fact, it's almost pointless to try and keep track of who's using what, we only use the degrees to 'get square' on what the maximum amount of sharing will be.  You're going to find yourself switching between 'allowed' degrees so quickly that it's a good thing that they aren't really that divided.  (Hey, nobody said they were perfect.)

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

So there you have it.  You got the game world with all your personae in it.  You bounce around between playing the Avatar, Joueur, Swashbuckler, or the Auteur.  You can have a game that has a Self-Conscious narrative or one that just goes.  You identify with your persona, their situation (on any of several levels), or the thematic impact of play, TiCing all the way.  You get to share everything Gamemasterfully, Referentially, or hardly at all (you Self-Sovereign, you).  There are just scads and scads of ways to play, and like using a television remote control, you'll be flipping back and forth all around these divisions so fast that it'll tell a story not on any one channel (but let's not forget to play favorites).

These are just the beginning of the ways of having rewarding gaming.  What's important is being able find whatever gives you 'da juice,' what gets you worked up, and what things get you 'pumped.'  If you have to take a half an hour to 'come down' after playing, you've found 'the zone.'  The above is intended to help you 'get on the same page' with the members of your group, 'cuz clash ain't doin' nothin' but bringin' you down.

So I gotta ask, What would you do?

Title: The Gaming Model: Basic (First Stage)
Post by: Laurel on March 22, 2002, 09:14:42 AM
Before anything else: thank you for writing this and presenting it.  I'll have to print out a copy of this over the weekend and read it more carefully than I can at work.  For now, I want to talk about what really resonated with me in a fairly abstract way.

Thinking In Context--  I think this in itself is a valuable insight.

Objective/Subject  POV-- I might not have liked the phrasing and terms whole-heartedly, but the point you were trying to make with this section caught my attention and kept it.

Player Types--  have you read Robin's Laws of Game Mastering yet?  I'll agree with what Clinton (I think) said about it.  Best $9 + s/h I've invested in a long time.  In terms of discussing player archetypes, their goals, needs and interests, I've never read anything better.

Title: That's a Good Question.
Post by: Le Joueur on March 22, 2002, 11:46:59 AM
Quote from: Laurel
Objective/Subject  POV-- I might not have liked the phrasing and terms whole-heartedly, but the point you were trying to make with this section caught my attention and kept it.

Yeah, I am a terrible writer.  About the terms, which do you think would be better?  I used "Objective/Subjective" over my earlier "Game/Personal PoV," and then there is the old "Third Person/Persona PoV."  I could consider Macro/Micro or any number of other suggestions; this is just my first draft.  Do you have any ideas for naming this split?

Quote from: Laurel
Player Types--  have you read Robin's Laws of Game Mastering yet?  I'll agree with what Clinton (I think) said about it.  Best $9 + s/h I've invested in a long time.  In terms of discussing player archetypes, their goals, needs and interests, I've never read anything better.

Still on my 'must get list;' but thanks to your suggestion it just jumped to the top.

Fang Langford

Title: This is great
Post by: Marco on March 27, 2002, 08:57:00 AM
It took me a looong time to get through it but I think it's right on the money. Missing a bit of pratical application but it definines the axises quite nicely.

Quesiton: can we see descriptions of how a given scene might run (or be created) differently in different modes.

But yeah: I think this is very clear and very much what you're looking for. Good job.


Title: The Gaming Model: Basic (First Stage)
Post by: Le Joueur on March 27, 2002, 04:42:55 PM
Quote from: Marco
It took me a looong time to get through it, but I think it's right on the money. Missing a bit of practical application but it defines the axes quite nicely.

Question: can we see descriptions of how a given scene might run (or be created) differently in different modes?

Okay, how about the game from this week?

The Genre Expectations of setting for this game is a secret subculture of people exists who has gained superpowers from weird cartoon-like faerie creatures.  The bulk of the world knows about the creatures and there are even leagues where people train them to battle (like dog or cockfighting, except, being magical, the creatures don't injure or die).

Born out of a medieval Japanese culture indirectly and modern American culture, the discipline of these battles is handled through league supported dojos (where trainers are battle-tested before admission to the league).  There are strict social guidelines about what these creatures can be used to do outside the ring and the dojo masters and their subsidiaries are expected to enforce this.

Overtly, there exists a 'wondering karateka' social contract (as far as we can approximate), covertly the dojo masters are also 'empowered' and do the exact same enforcement over others who become empowered through these creatures.  (These also are commonly former trainers.)

Narratives in this Genre Expectation generally center on the discovery and subsequent unraveling of hidden, supernatural plotting on the part of nigh super-villains, giving the game a 'superheroes in secret' flair.  Personae are created with both a precipitating event (often the accident or sudden occurrence of powers, but not always) that defines them and some kind of 'starting conflict' that 'puts them into play.'  I have yet to have a submission of a not-as-yet empowered persona, but this is not a requirement.

To simplify this example, I'll stick to the player whose persona was most central in creating the specific circumstance of the beginning of play.  The background is lifted from a video game where the battling faerie creatures are the totality of play around a weak, scripted story.  (It's a hand-held, what do you expect?)

This persona's precipitating event was a decision to 'disappear' rather than face a forced wedding with a mysterious figure whose reputation nearly matches Bluebeard's.  She became the servant to a ghostly-themed legendary faerie creature and was permanently transformed into one of them.  Years later, she decided that, upon gaining her majority (no longer a minor), her stepfather could no longer compel her to wed (and then have an opportunity to murder 'Bluebeard' for whatever her wicked stepfather coveted).  Appealing to the legendary creature of darkness, she was granted an item that allows her human form only at night and a suggestion that a full cure could be had if she could become a full member of the league and thereby gain access to an underground temple dedicated to the legendary creature of light.  (Note; all faerie creatures of darkness are known to be evil or at least capricious.)

I have a long history with this particular player.  She is notorious for getting lost in the details and feelings of her character's experiences, a hallmark of playing the Avatar accent on no Self-Conscious narration.  Yet when all is said and done she views everything with critical eye based exactly on values of the Self-Conscious narrative (I had always suspected she had these in the back of her mind, just not focusing on them during the time surrounding the run of the game).  Make no mistake when faerie creatures battle, her well-groomed team competes with the best of them and her dedication is not lacking (these Joueur tendencies carry over from her enjoyment of the video game in question).  Heck the only thing I never catch her doing is playing the Auteur.  Anyway....

Since I know she doesn't go for the 'journey of self-discovery' embedded in the products surrounding the video game, I requested some fine-tuning to the story structure of the Genre Expectations.  What I got was a lot of confused noises that basically boiled down to her wanting a romance-novel driven, theme-packed, action romp leading up to a confrontation with a greater power (hey, you gotta reach for the stars); oh, and could you have two male lead characters fighting over her persona?  (Not in the 'the winner gets the spoils' way.)

Not too hard, in my practice.  Let's see what we've got.  Two legendary faerie creatures dote on her, a secret temple at the end of a quest, two leads fighting over the girl, 'Bluebeard,' a female rival (did I mention she wanted that too?), a wicked, scheming step-father, and the usual dojo/league/competition stuff.  She wants to get a guy (or probably vice versa), beat the dojos (the 'how do you get into the league' thing), and reclaim her humanity (all the while putting paid to the wicked step-father).  Not too shabby, a little heavy on the meat, but I have a few tricks.

How do I approach this from each of the divisions?

If I'm playing the Joueur, I'm going to focus on two angles (or maybe one over the other), the battles involved with gaining entry into the league and the temple and the complications involved with the subculture of trainers and why they're guarding the temple (the obvious prize may be related to wish fulfillment).  Also playing the Joueur could apply to the romance in terms of selecting the 'winner' for her hand.  I've got stats for all the creatures, but I must confess that I really am not up to snuff when it comes to the strategy involved from the parent video game, so I tend to abstract the literal battles.

For a Joueur player, I must 'give as good as I get,' on all fields.  What is happening in the game that emphasizes this is her persona has discovered that the second to last dojo master has exactly the same problem as her, in reverse.  He spends his nights as one of these creatures.  She has conflicted with his human guise; in the league rules, a creature may not gain entry into the league.  He thinks this persona is just a creature (yes, some of them are potentially this intelligent; ignoring potential 'racism' issues is central to what makes the source material work and another Genre Expectation).  In a scene where she discovered his secret, she neglected to explain her similar condition so he believes that persona is just a human.  Now the puzzle she has to solve is she has to find a way to battle the dojo master.  (Just to 'raise the stakes,' I made this dojo master turn out to the 'Bluebeard' by reputation and gossip - and to simplify the game and complicate her love life.)

If I'm playing the Avatar, I'm going to really throw myself into the characters.  I will be really 'getting into their heads,' with an eye on emotional depth.  A scene that illustrated this was when her persona encountered her 'old rival.'  She braced for the old catty ways; only we were both surprised when the rival was excited to see her again.  Until I 'stepped into' the character, I had completely overlooked that when a person simply disappears, there's usually an investigation and some assumption of fatality.  I expect sometime soon the rivalry will reassert itself.

For an Avatar player, I need evoke what makes her persona 'tick' (when she's TiCing, ha ha).  Since I only had a sketch of what was going on for her persona, I zeroed in her interest on romance (and the two warring suitors) and her quest for humanity.  (This player is notorious for 'develop in play' characters; usually 'latching on' to something she finds interesting and defining her persona in terms of it.)  So far, I have gotten her both sympathetic towards the plight of 'Bluebeard' as well as attracted to who was 'destined' to be her husband (playing off the ambivalence of wanting the cute guy versus having wronged him, all the 'mushy stuff').  Next, I expect I'll need to endanger his 'rival' so I'm going to take everyone to a party in fine regency romance tradition.

Now, if I'm playing the Swashbuckler, I frequently turn the game into areas I haven't considered.  I have a knack for reacting to that kind of thing by intuitively filling in the 'right' detail (like the 'old rival' example above), don't try this at home.  Honestly, the whole Genre Expectation arose from exactly something like this.  At some point I found myself saying to me, 'if I had access to half this stuff, I'd find a way to get my own powers.'  It was a surprise to all of the players, but darn if it didn't appeal to us tried and true superhero gamers.  Anyway, I am expecting to do exactly this kind of 'seat of your pants' exposition when I get to dealing with things involving the legendary creatures.  (For example, why that quest?  What does 'Light' have? And et cetera.)

For a Swashbuckler player in this game, it'll be all about action.  Keeping up a certain amount of surprises and threats so the player 'gets around.'  Playing around with what is known and what is expected will allow me to create interest without having to 'take the show on the road.'  The most important thing to keep in mind is the players 'have the flashlight.'  They direct where the interest goes; it's not my job to 'lead them around by the nose,' just to give them what they're looking for.  I commonly look for ways to 'give them enough rope.'

Well, if I'm playing the Auteur here, I'll look for thematic bases to give the game an unifying 'charge.'  Originally I thought about going with a contrast between 'being human' and 'being a creature,' but the game is quickly beginning to show highlights on 'betrayal' issues.  The wicked stepfather was going to use the persona to betray 'Bluebeard,' 'Darkness' may be trying to betray 'Light' with a pawn, the persona betrayed family and friends just by dropping out of sight.  The ways I can work betrayal into everything is staggering, and I got the idea from how betrayed (by sympathy) the persona felt after discovering that the unfortunate condition of 'Bluebeard' was a result of his trying to find her (right now we don't know how, but I bet it'll be themed by betrayal on another level).  Really, I use thematic investment as a crutch.  If I can't think of something to give a part of what I am running enough character to be memorable, I lever in a bunch of the recurrent theme and POW the players find it highly memorable.

I'm going to have to speculate on running someone playing the Auteur; I have scant experience with it yet.  Basically I see it as supporting whatever themes, motifs, or 'cool stuff' the player likes about the game.  If they want to get hosed, I turn the spigot.  Whatever it is they like about a game, I'm there to keep it constant.  (Frankly, that sounds like a lot of fun, but I'll need new players for that.)

One thing to keep in mind, each of the above are simply examples that fit within the divisions given, not necessarily all inclusive of each.  That being said, you can also see how much things jump around when I am gamemastering.  Part of the trick is to know when to shift.  Radical, unannounced switches create catastrophic shocks.  My general rule of thumb is never during a scene and always 'establish' the change.  'Establishing' the new division being appealed to has a lot to do with those innocuous scenic elements that most people don't even notice in film.  If I'm going to play into the Joueur because I expect a scene to involve a combat that my players will be placing their emotional investment into, I can do something as obvious as having the scene open with them watching a battle with a sotto voce conversation about the strategies used or as subtle as bumping into a character who's a megafan (with all the merchandize to prove it).

As for Self-Consciousness of narrative, it varies from division to division.  For one playing the Avatar, I might escalate towards the "you're tearing me apart" level of emotional identification/tension.  For one playing the Joueur, I could orchestrate that finely tuned increase in difficulty leading to the ultimate confrontation; whether battling the most powerful foe, destroying the wicked stepfather, or saving the league from internal machinations.  For one playing the Swashbuckler, there's always orchestrating the familiar 'hero quest' from the monomyth (That's what it was right?).  For one playing the Auteur, I may even work the 'cool factor' (she has to help me, because the deep attraction to the video game baffles me) into a full lather, taking it as close to the 'epic' quality as the movies related to the source material get.

The results of the amount of sharing per each of the above permutations are left to the reader as an exercise.  (If you don't mind; I have a convention this weekend and working up 48 more variations is a bit daunting.)

Quote from: Marco
But yeah: I think this is very clear and very much what you're looking for. Good job.

I really appreciate the compliments; they help during those 'sometimes I wonder why I bother' periods.

Fang Langford

Title: Graphic Style!
Post by: Le Joueur on November 13, 2002, 02:25:14 PM
Check out the new Graphic Depiction of the Model (!

Fang Langford

p. s. I promise I'll get to the second level of the model sometime this year!